The Pre-Marital Counseling I Still Lean On 16 Years Later

Wedding Photo

My wife and I just celebrated 16 years of marriage. I’ve been doing pre-marital counseling for a couple getting married next month. And one of my students from my youth ministry days asked me for my address today, so he could send me a wedding invitation.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the pre-marital counsel I received, which has also been the same advice I’ve been giving to others for years now. It’s all pretty simple and I deserve no credit for or any of it. Bob Flayhart, the pastor of Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church, here in my hometown, gave it to us and I’ve been living on it and giving it away.

But this morning I got to thinking about how it might be helpful and here I am with a blog and all.

Anything that follows of value should be credited to Pastor Bob Flayhart. Anything suspect is probably me messing it up. This is, of course, not exhaustive. I gotta be leaving something out. I’d say more in a counseling session. But these are the 3 things I’ve been telling to myself for 16 years now.

1) If Romans 8:28 is true and since your spouse is part of “all things” then your spouse has been given to you for your good. All of who they are is being used by a sovereign God to serve your good. And the same is true of you for them. What is that good? Knowing Christ as he is revealed in the gospel.

2) You need to live as the bigger sinner because you know, or should know, your own sin better than your spouse’s. Your sin is a bigger problem for you than your spouse’s sin. Jesus died to save you from your sin, not their’s. The temptation is to see the speck in their eye with clarity and the log in your’s with reluctance.

3) Marriage is not fair. It’s not about being fair and expecting fairness. It’s not 50/50. It’s 100/100. Marriage is a picture of the gospel and therefore is meant to be a place where grace is lived out with abandon. The temptation will always be to believe you are giving more and doing more. The goal is to extend grace and mercy because of the grace and mercy we’ve received.

4 thoughts on “The Pre-Marital Counseling I Still Lean On 16 Years Later

  1. Vicky March 10, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    Matt, my dad gave me the 100/100 percent advice more than 36 years ago. So much better than the 30 minute marriage counseling seesion that William and I attended! My dad was not a very educated man, but he was very wise!

  2. Becky Johnson March 11, 2015 / 8:12 am

    Excellent! I especially love the, “Marriage is a picture of the gospel and therefore is meant to be a place where grace is lived out with abandon.”

    Thanks, Matt.

  3. Larry March 11, 2015 / 8:49 am

    Number #1 is what I needed to hear and remember. All are great but that is the one I needed today. Thanks brother.

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